Alcohol prices rise as overall inflation falls
The cost of alcohol in the UK has seen a significant increase, contributing to rising inflation during the ongoing cost of living crisis. Official figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that alcohol prices rose by three per cent last month, compared to an increase of 0.8 per cent in the previous year. This price hike in booze comes despite a decrease in overall food and consumer inflation in August.
Alcohol prices make largest contribution to consumer price inflation in over a decade
According to the Office for National Statistics, the rising cost of alcohol has made the biggest contribution to the annual rate of consumer price inflation since their data collection began in 2006. The price of spirits such as whisky, gin, and vodka was 8.6 per cent higher in August compared to the same time last year, while beer cost 13.5 per cent more.
Chancellor's tax increase adds to rising alcohol prices
Inflationary pressures on alcohol prices have been exacerbated by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's recent increase in alcohol and cigarette duty. Last month, duty was raised by 10.1 per cent, marking the first increase since 2020. Mark Kent from the Scotch Whisky Association criticized the move, stating that it not only keeps inflation unnecessarily high but also harms a domestic industry that consistently contributes to public revenue and invests in the UK. Kent also highlighted the negative impact on responsible consumers who are already facing rising costs.
Microsoft's £55bn takeover of Activision Blizzard set for UK approval
Microsoft's planned acquisition of video game company Activision Blizzard, the maker of popular game franchise Call of Duty, is on track to receive approval in the UK after receiving thumbs-up from both the US and the EU. The Competition and Markets Authority has stated that Microsoft's offer to sell its cloud gaming rights to rival Ubisoft has effectively addressed previous concerns.
Retail sales rise, but private sector contracts
Last month, retail sales in the UK saw a 0.4 per cent increase as shoppers returned to the high street following a rainy July. However, the rest of the private sector experienced the largest contraction since 2021. A snapshot from S&P's purchasing managers' index revealed a sharp decline in the services and manufacturing industries.
Good week for Next, bad week for Naked Wines
Lord Simon Wolfson, CEO of Next, delivered a positive update with a hat-trick of profit upgrades for the company. Next's sales were boosted by favorable weather conditions and wage increases. On the other hand, Naked Wines boss Rowan Gormley faced a challenging week as he apologized to shareholders and warned of the company potentially going bust.